By Chris Heagney
The mountains have felt more like a jungle this summer. Thick, muggy air and warm rains that have refused to break up the heat make for some sticky weather. Air conditioning and iced tea are great, but in the midst of a scorcher I’m looking for something a little more tasty and refreshing.
Naturally, cider is a quick and easy choice when I’m looking for something crisp, light and flavorful. With plenty of choices from juicy and sweet to bone dry and funky, there’s a cider for everyone. One cider that will keep you nice and cool without sacrificing excitement is Appalachian Mountain Brewery’s Mystic Dragon Cider. Made with green tea, rhubarb and strawberries, and sitting at 5 percent ABV, it is both refreshing and complex.
Another great summer beverage (that also happens to be gluten free) is the Lime Agave ginger beer brewed by Ginger’s Revenge. Inspired by the Moscow Mule cocktail, this ginger beer’s bright and spicy character is balanced out with lime juice and agave nectar. It’s a great palate cleanser for a hot day.
At the end of the day, I often find myself across the river at New Belgium Brewing Company. The shaded deck, with a breeze coming off the French Broad River, allows for comfortable outdoor seating on even the hottest days. To top it off, I suggest having a pint of the most refreshing beer they offer: Mural Agua Fresca Cerveza. Sharing some of the summery ingredients in the ginger beer above, it’s a light beer brewed with hibiscus, agave, watermelon and lime.
When I’m craving a cocktail, this season has me gravitating towards gin drinks. A straightforward and easy solution is the gin and tonic, but there are a thousand variations on it that are equal parts fresh and delicious. If I’m looking for a little less sweetness, I’ll replace the tonic with soda water, both flavored or unflavored. A squeeze of lime juice and the addition of ingredients like cucumber, mint, watermelon or plum can pleasantly elevate your cocktail and keep you cool during this sweltering summer season.
Christopher Heagney is the owner of Daidala Ciders, located in Asheville at the Historic Cotton Mill Studios at 122 Riverside Drive.